Do you know that October is the Breast Cancer Awareness Month? This is the period when we have to pay more attention to the prevention of this terrible disease, which is likely to strike one in 8 women at certain point in their lifetime. Even though family history and obesity of the disease are well-known contributors to the beginning of this disease, there are certain other things that also increase the risk of developing it. Here are some of them:
There is a strong connection between drinking alcohol and an increased breast cancer risk and it’s believed that the more alcohol you drink, the bigger the risk of getting the disease is. As it was reported by the American Cancer Society, women who consume 2-5 drinks a day increase their breast cancer risk by 1.5% compared to women who don’t consume alcohol.
Alcohol can change the way a woman metabolizes estrogen, and in turn it leads to an elevated estrogen level in the blood, as stated by The Susan G Koman Foundation. Although the reason remains unclear, it was found that higher estrogen levels are directly connected to the breast cancerdevelopment.
- NOT BREASTFEEDING
Despite the fact that the relation between breastfeeding and breast cancer risk is poorly understood, there are some researchers which believe that breastfeeding lowers the risk of developing breast cancer. The longer a woman breastfeeds, the lower is the risk of breast cancer, as it was stated by the American Cancer Society.
It’s believed that the increased risk is somehow relatedto the amount of estrogen in woman`s body. Just as the pregnancy protection, breastfeeding is decreasing the number of menstrual cycles, which in turn lowers the risk by simply reducing the accumulation of estrogen.
- HAVING CHILDREN LATER IN LIFE (OR NOT HAVING AT ALL)
The American Cancer Society claims that having children later in life or not having kids at all is likely to raise the breast cancer risk. As it was reported by the National Cancer Institute, pregnancy is reducing the total accumulation of the estrogen in the body because it decreases the number of menstrual cycles a woman has during her lifetime. It’s also worth mentioning that the earlier a woman has her first child, the lower the risk of breast cancer. Moreover, the more children she has, the lower the risk.
- BIRTH CONTROL
Although the oral birth control is generally safe to use, it has been found that some forms of it raise the breast cancer risk. As stated by The American Cancer Society, Depo-Provera, the injectable form of progesterone could increase breast cancer risk. But, as it was reported by the web site, there is no risk in women even after 5 years they stop getting the shots.
There are some studies which have found that oral birth control has a higher risk of breast cancer if compared to women who have never used them, yet the risk ends when they stop using it.
- NIGHT WORK
Working at night is also associated with higher breast cancer risk, probably because ofthe hormonal changes. As it was reported by The Breast Cancer Fund, this has something to do with the changes in the melatonin levels, that is a hormone affected by the body`s exposure to light. High levels of melatonin during the night are vital for regulation of numerous hormones, including estrogen.